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A Treasury of Royal Scandals: The Shocking True Stories of History's Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors
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Fall 2015 > Review of A Treasury of Royals Scandals

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message 1: by Claire (new)

Claire Davis | 1 comments If you’re one who can never resist gossip, prepare yourself to read some of the most delicious secrets to date. In A Treasury of Royal Scandals, Michael Farquhar unveils the lives of historical rulers, but not in the stale, standard way of history textbooks. No, Farquhar instead shares the nitty and the gritty of past royal’s secret lives. He includes in his book tales of murderously jealous queens, disgustingly gluttonous kings, and not-so-pious popes.
The best part of this treasury? Every scandalous story is factual. Supporting his stories with a long list of credible sources, Farquhar opens the door into a real and vibrant history for his readers. He includes actual quotes regarding the rulers through snippets of past love letters, doctor’s notes, documents of trials, and other primary sources.
For example, when detailing the improper relationship that took place between Catherine the Great (empress of Russia) and her unrefined one-eyed lover, Gregory Potemkin, Farquhar includes real segments of love letters Catherine wrote to Gregory. These letters illustrate Catherine’s penchant for original nicknames: “marble beauty,” “darling pet,” “dearest doll,” “lion of the jungle,” and my favorite, “professional bon bon.”
There is one hitch, however: while A Treasury is a scintillating read for those looking for satisfying royal secrets, it definitely does not provide enough information to be considered a go-to source for applicable and scholarly historical facts. Farquhar rarely includes specific dates in the text, granting the reader only names and vague historical references to navigate hazy time periods with.
But the real characteristic of this book that sets it apart from others of its kind is the sarcasm and humor woven throughout the stories. Farquhar doesn’t just lay out the facts; he educates while entertaining. He wields irony and comical cynicism in ways that will make you laugh out loud, and his subtly snide comments will have you wondering what hilarious derision each new page will bring. Without a doubt, I would recommend this book to any and all mature readers who are interested in history and its secrets.
The skill with which Michael Farquhar writes is reason enough for readers to pick A Treasury of Royal Scandals off a shelf. But it’s the captivating, shocking stories themselves that will keep them from putting it back.


message 2: by Mrs. Raabe (new) - added it

Mrs. Raabe (molly_raabe) | 12 comments Thank you for such a thorough critique. I am adding this book to my "want to read" shelf on Booklist. Currently, I am reading Wolf Hall and I think this will be a nice follow-up!


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